Best known for his holiday television opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” the old joke that when it comes to Gian Carlo Menotti that “if you’ve heard one, you’ve heard ‘Amahl’” will get the true test when Chamber Opera Chicago offers staged excerpts from that Christmas classic alongside staged excerpts from “The Telephone,” “The Medium,” “The Old Maid and the Thief,” “The Consul,” “Amelia Goes to the Ball,” “The Saint of Bleecker Street,” “Help, Help, the Globolinks!,” “Goya,” “The Last Savage” and “Maria Golovin.” A live Chamber Orchestra is conducted by Victoria Bond and all is staged and directed by Menotti’s son, Frances Menotti. Always outspoken and obsessed with communicating with audiences rather than alienating them, this two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner’s simplicity of style and gift for melodic vocal writing paired with an innate gift for storytelling make Menotti’s work both accessible and entertaining for both experienced opera-goers and novices alike. This season opener serves as a memorial tribute to Menotti, who died last February after a lifetime of composing operas in Italy and America. (Dennis Polkow)
At the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston. Fri-Sat 7:30pm. This production is now closed.